By announcing the Ukraine Solidarity Network, several left-leaning circles have broken a peculiar cycle of silence, ambiguity, and complicity over the Russian war on Ukraine.
In the “ambivalent” category, Code Pink, for example, which is outspoken on foreign matters, condemns the Russian invasion but does not back Ukrainian resistance.
The Ukraine Solidarity Network was established to focus on the right of nations to self-determination (and respect for national sovereignty), opposition to great-power hegemony, and the right to self-defence in the face of attack.
In the end, peace and security for Russia and Ukraine would require a lot of talking.
The people who signed on to the Ukraine Solidarity Network concluded that, in the face of Russia’s blatant aggression, those who support the resistance shouldn’t rely on the US government’s lies.
By announcing the Ukraine Solidarity Network, several left-leaning circles have broken a peculiar cycle of silence, ambiguity, and complicity over the Russian war on Ukraine. In the “ambivalent” category, Code Pink, for example, which is outspoken on foreign matters, condemns the Russian invasion but does not back Ukrainian resistance. Black Alliance for Peace is an example of a group complicit in the attack.
A large portion of the US left, and progressive circles have become more lost in the turbulent waters of neoliberal globalisation and rising right-wing authoritarianism, especially after the end of the Cold War and China’s transition to capitalism. It was no surprise that left-leaning and progressive groups had focused a lot of their attention on the posture and actions of the US government given the country’s crimes, domestically and abroad (and its allies). However, this strategy ran into difficulties when governments in the Global South that had initially appeared to support a left, anti-imperialist process started taking steps that were either complicit with neoliberal capital or engaged in repressive measures against their populations, the latter of which was in response to widespread protests. A case in point is the Robert Mugabe administration in Zimbabwe; a more recent example is the Ortega government in Nicaragua. In both instances, these administrations’ left-wing “bona fides” concealed an increasingly authoritarian attitude frequently laced with corruption.
Many of us were justifiably wary of any international measures that appeared to be supported by the US, regardless of the internal dynamics of such acts, in response to the history of US meddling in the domestic affairs of, quite possibly, the majority of countries on planet Earth. We questioned if this was yet another instance of US imperialism interfering. Is this just another puppet movement funded by the US aiming to reorient the nation?
The impulse was to react or remain silent rather than critically analyse each circumstance. I would add the purportedly “anti-imperialist” theocracy in Iran to the two case examples mentioned earlier—Zimbabwe Mugabe’s and Ortega’s Nicaragua.
Then, starting in 2014, the Russian-Ukrainian dispute developed, eventually resulting in the Russian invasion in February 2022.
The Ukraine Solidarity Network was established to focus on the right of nations to self-determination (and respect for national sovereignty), opposition to great-power hegemony, and the right to self-defence in the face of attack. The fact that the US government and its NATO allies support the Ukrainian government has, in the opinion of some on the left, including Noam Chomsky, concealed the proper set of problems underlying this crisis. As a result, those who founded the Ukraine Solidarity Network concluded that it was time for the Left to speak up.
The debate surrounding Ukraine in many left-leaning and progressive circles centres on NATO’s growth following the fall of the USSR. Before our discussion on The Real News Network in April 2022, Chomsky and I both agreed that NATO should have been disbanded and it should never have expanded. Many post-Soviet governments in eastern Europe were afraid of what post-Soviet Russia might be planning, which contributed to the growth as much as the goals of US administrations. However, a comprehensive security agreement ought to have been negotiated. Not at all.
However, the NATO expansion effectively came to a standstill in 2004. In the case of Ukraine, there was minimal public support for joining the alliance before 2014, when Russian assistance for secessionist movements in the country’s east began, along with the Russian annexation of Crimea. However, aside from shock, the reaction from Western nations was minimal, and there was substantial opposition within NATO to admitting Ukraine, which meant that Ukraine would not be joining the alliance.
On the night of the invasion, Russian President Putin gave away any potential progress and left support by framing the attack in a way that would have pleased Tsar Nicholas II. Putin made it apparent that what was happening was not a defensive measure against NATO but a reassertion of a Russian sphere of influence by labelling Ukraine as a national fiction and participating in a debate with Lenin and Stalin on the “national question.”
I believe those on the left side of the aisle are meant to oppose spheres of influence. We accomplish this by supporting the right of nations to determine their fate.
Our network firmly supports peace but not the tranquillity of the cemetery. An excellent place to start would be for the aggressor (Russia) to stop fighting and pull out its troops. In the end, peace and security for Russia and Ukraine would require a lot of talking. We want to add that it’s not up to us Americans to tell the Ukrainians what and how much land they should give to Russia for “peace” to happen.
Many genuine people think that encouraging conflict with the potential for escalation by defending the right of Ukrainians to use armed resistance in some way is counterproductive. But when Fascist Italy attacked Ethiopia in 1935 and asked for help, there was no similar opposition. When fascists tried to take over Spain in 1936 and Italy and Germany sent troops to help, the Spanish government asked imperialist countries for help. However, such worries were not voiced at the time—at least not by the left, some of whom did use claims of devotion to peace to deprive the Spanish republic of the means to defend itself). Even though the US constantly threatened to launch nuclear weapons, nothing similar was brought up when the Vietnamese battled against US aggression during the Vietnam War.
The people who signed on to the Ukraine Solidarity Network concluded that, in the face of Russia’s blatant aggression, those who support the resistance shouldn’t rely on the US government’s lies. This government backs Morocco’s attack on and occupation of Western Sahara and Israel’s attack on and treatment of the Palestinians as apartheid. The voices favouring resistance had to be those calling for global oppressors’ unity.